When we first started this school routine several months ago, I posted about our new “morning work.” I wanted to come back and talk about it again since it has been such a huge success for us that I know it will continue for the foreseeable future.
In our house, the kids inevitably rise first. I struggle out of bed around 7:30 or so (“so” being me struggling out of bed at 8:30 sometimes) and join them, but since they’ve already been up and at it for a little while, sometimes they were deeply involved in something else and starting school was a problem. I know for some families that having your kids playing happily together is so beautiful that you wouldn’t want to interrupt, but Mushroom and BalletBoy play so well together every moment of the day that I really had to interrupt or we would only do school once a week or so.
So I devised “Morning Work.” Every night before bed, I leave out something for the kids to do when they get up. They get their cereal and settle in a bit, then they do the morning work.
Sometimes, this is an “art challenge” and I leave out art supplies and art idea books. Sometimes it’s a math drill worksheet. Sometimes, it’s a logic page. Sometimes it’s a more “fun” math page to review something. Sometimes, it’s a geography review sheet. I put out a variety of things. When I get up, by and large, they’re finishing it up or already finished, but not so deeply embroiled in a game that they can’t move on. The school day has begun and they know it. It gets them focused.
There have been some bonuses as well. It is a truly independent thing they do every day. They have to do it without fussing or whinging because there’s no one to fuss to. Also, while I don’t want to have a homeschool that’s focused on worksheet-based learning, this lets us do a few here and there on various topics without it feeling like a heavy-weight of worksheets all the time.
Some resources I’ve found useful for our morning work routine:
- Those Scholastic E-books. I haven’t gone as crazy as some people when Scholastic has their dollar days sales, but I admit that I have several pdf Scholastic books sitting on my computer. This has been a good use for them. I especially like Fairy Tale Proofreading and Math Line Designs, which is one of those worksheet sets where you color by math problem answer.
- Tin Man Press Books. Wakeruppers was made to be morning work! It’s the perfect get thinking thing for me to give the kids. Other Tin Man Press books work well for this time too.
- Usborne Wipe-Off Cards. We have several sets of these, including one of Brain Games and another of Math Puzzles. I spread them on the table and make the morning work, “Do 2/3/4 cards you’ve never done before.”
- WorkSheetWorks. This website has a nice array of practice pages, including nifty pentamino puzzles and handwriting worksheets. We’ve especially used the math pages as drill sheets.
- The Usborne Big Book of Things to Draw. We have used other good art idea books, but this one has been useful to simply leave out with some materials and say, “try this.” We’ve also had some Mark Kistler books out from the library and found they work well for this too.
- Books. Sometimes, I just leave something short out for the kids to read. So, as in all things, the library serves us well.